I was talking with my friend Michelle the other night about the long abandoned theme park in Beech Mountain, NC called "The Land of Oz." I learned that "Wizard of Oz" enthusiasts open the park once a year for tours of such sights as Dorothy's house, the witch's castle, a real yellow brick road, and tiny munchkin houses.
I can't wait to go this year when it opens next month. I love abandoned things from bygone eras, and this seems like a gem. You can find tons of information on the park just by Google searching it, but here are some links to more information about the Land of Oz theme park to get you started.
I used to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey every week until Melissa Gorga became one of the Housewives. Her relationship with her husband Joe Gorga is sickening. She's expected to be, and is fine with being a barefoot-in-the-kitchen baby-maker. She is also expected to submit to his demands for sex at any time he initiates it in fear of being verbally abused, which she thinks is normal. I feel so bad for her kids. This is one excerpt of many listed in this article on Jezebel illustrating the fact that Joe Gorga is a chauvinist pig:
"Men, I know you think your woman isn't the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says "no," turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated. Women don't realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want."
You absolutely have to read this article. You'll be floored. Just PLEASE don't support this behavior by purchasing the book. I'll throw up if this thing ends up on a best-seller list.
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
> New York Times Article "New Jersey Judge Rules State Must Allow Gay Marriage"
> Official Ruling/Decision Summary from the State of New Jersey (PDF file)
> The Garden State Equality Organization Website
I don't see myself getting married in the foreseeable future, but I do eventually want to get married. Hopefully that doesn't scare my boyfriend Corey off. Haha! Great news, though, from the courts in New Jersey. On Friday, September 27, 2013, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. Refusal to do so would be a defiance of the United States Supreme Court's June ruling guaranteeing the rights of same-sex couples across the country. Finally, a state close enough to Pennsylvania is allowing me to marry whomever I choose. Don't you think it's about time Pennsylvania started allowing same-sex marriages too? I do. And while we're at it, let's legalize marijuana. It's bound to happen sooner or later. Let's just get it all over with. Pennsylvania needs to modernize. We're stuck in the dark ages. What do you think? Leave comments below, like and share on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an e-mail.
I was talking with my dad this afternoon about Obama Care, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, and in talking, we both realized we know little to nothing about how this HUGE reform is going to affect us. I was really curious so I began researching and came across this cute little cartoon that very simply explains how everything in the Act pertains to each person in American society: the employee, the retiree, the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. It's very straight forward, and very effective in explaining the Affordable Care Act so that anyone can understand it.
Here is the link to the official HealthCare.gov website, and you can go here to see how and when changes will take effect in your home state. I understand it's an issue that's in hot debate, but if we don't get ready for it, as they say in the video, we'll be left out in the cold. I hope this helps. Here's the video:
A struggling mother of twins asked her kids to write their Christmas lists early so she could scrimp and save enough money to buy them what they really wanted. She was shocked and touched by the letter her 8-year-old son Ryan wrote to Santa Claus.
He told Santa that he had wanted a few toys and electronics, but that he had changed his mind. His twin sister, Amber, had been the target of bullying for some time now. Attacks on her weight, appearance, and disabilities were too much for her to bear, and she told her mom that she wished she would die to escape the torment. As her twin, Ryan shared Amber's distress in a way that only twins can.
I've included the video here for you to watch, so I won't spoil it for you by commenting further. Just know that it is truly inspiring, touching, and worth spending 6 minutes on. Enjoy.
Toni Morrison's Work "The Bluest Eye" is Called Pornographic by Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar
"Toni Morrison’s debut novel The Bluest Eye is a widely acknowledged masterpiece. Its literary reputation, however, has done little to placate wannabe censors who have tried to discredit and even ban the book from schools, citing depictions of incest and child molestation as “pornographic” and “totally inappropriate” for students.
Click here to send a petition letter to Debe Terhar and Mark Smith of The Ohio Board of Education, and the ACLU. This is the best and easiest way to let your voice be heard. Don't let great works of literature be banned from the classroom. These works are invaluable, and students are being robbed of the exposure to these works. Fight against it by sending your message to the people who matter.
UPDATE 09/27/13: Toni Morrison won! "The Bluest Eye" will stay on the curriculum! Read more here.
"Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face." ...And 32 More of the Most Terrible First Sentences in the History of American Literature
Do you know what the Bulwer-Lytton Prize is? Neither did I until I read the 33 worst first sentences in the history of literature. They are hilariously bad, and more often than not, they're annoyingly awkward. And it's the awkwardness that adds to the fun of it.
Inspired by novelist and playwright Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s famous “it was a dark and stormy night” opener, the contest asks writers to submit an opening sentence for the “worst of all possible novels” in all genres. So this means that children's literature is included, which inspires some of the funniest of the opening lines, one being the title of this blog.
"The fairies of Minglewood, which is near Dingly Pool, were having a grand revel with flower-cakes, and butterfly dances, looking ever so pretty, while Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face."
See? Almost too awkward to have been printed...but it was. SMH. Here's the site: 33 of the Most Hilariously Terrible First Lines in Literature History. You've been warned.
"Imagine using the biggest speech of your life to talk about your deepest inner struggles. That's exactly what the soldier here does as he's given the Medal of Honor."
How courageous is Ty Carter? I struggle with PTSD myself, and I know it's not easy to talk about. My trauma is similar to Ty's in that they stem from watching a loved one die in an awful way. So, I can appreciate what courage it took to not only admit it, but to so eloquently describe his trauma so that others living with PTSD know they're not alone is heroic. He is a two time hero in my book. Thanks, Ty Carter.
What is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Well, the National Library of Medicine defines it very simply as "a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death." I can assure you it's much more complex than that. The disorder involves reliving the traumatic event in detail over and over, especially at night or when you're trying to relax. It is a vision that consumes you so wholly that you sometimes feel that it's really happening all over again, and all the while you're terrified that it will happen again in the future under different circumstances. It involves paralyzing fear while enduring vivid hallucinations of the event, sometimes rendering us either almost comatose or actively participating in the hallucination of the traumatic event to the horror of those around us. Suicidal thoughts and ideations are common, but we all live life just like anyone without PTSD, and we hide it well to the public.
If someone you love has PTSD, The National Center for PTSD has advice here. Gently asking the victim how they're feeling about the trauma and if they'd like to talk about it, on a regular basis, is so helpful. Therapy is best, though. The National Center for PTSD can be very helpful, but seeking regional resources might be the best route to take if you need to help a loved one with PTSD into treatment. Treatment saved my life.
Greg Anderson was the official photographer of the Just for Men National Beard and Moustache Championships, held on September 7, 2013 in New Orleans at the House of Blues. He posted 165 photos of contestants to a Facebook Gallery. Let me tell you, some of these facial hair creations are WILD. You'll totally enjoy it.
A Touching Display of Support for LGBT Community by Italian Government Officials when told "Gay People are Inappropriate"
Italian Government Officials took to a creative protest when they were faced with the sentiment that "gay people are inappropriate." They began holding up signs, kissing and hugging members of the same sex, and kept this up for a few minutes. Take a look at the video here, and read the article in Upworthy here.
Words to live by:
If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
How could you be in a bad mood after looking at that precious face? This adorable kitten's name is Sir Stuffington, and he was a stray born on the street and taken in by a loving family. When he was still a baby, he was attacked by a racoon which left him with the scars on his mouth and lip and without a right eye. Poor little guy. This makes me think about how much I love my dogs and would be devastated if anything ever happened to one of them. Sir Stuffington, you just made my Monday morning! Check out the BuzzFeed article here.
If this doesn't look like Matt Damon, then I must be blind! This is hilarious! If someone photoshopped drag makeup onto Matt Damon, took a photo, converted it to black and white, and posted it on Twitter, this is what the final product would look like. Oh, I'm so amused.
I got a surprise e-mail from Allison Dufty this afternoon. If you remember my blog post from September 19th, I posted a video called "How Siri Found its Voice" which chronicles the journey from spoken word to synthesized speech used in technology. One of the voice artists highlighted was Allison Dufty, who sounds a lot like Siri (a LOT like Siri if you ask me), but really isn't. So it is still a mystery as to who the voice of Siri is. Maybe like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?", there are answers to questions the world may never know.
So, to Allison Dufty, I do apologize. I wish you were Siri, but even if you're not, I saw your website and you do amazing work. Siri would be lucky to have your voice. See another retraction here where they call this whole mess a "Siri-ous Mistake." Indeed it is.
This week, I've got a lot of photography for you, with some sculpture, writing, and architecture. I was really struck by the photographs of living situations in Hong Kong and China, and I'm still in awe of the long exposure photos of fireworks and ferris wheels. So cool. Enjoy!
10. You Can Wipe Your Device After Too Many Failed Password Attempts
Want to protect your data on your phone? You need a password. People can crack passwords, however, so if you want to be extra safe you need to wipe the data from your phone after they fail to enter your password correctly too many times. 10 times, in fact. Jump into Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock to find and option called Erase Data all the way at the bottom. If you enable it, your phone will wipe itself out if someone tries to access it and fails 10 times.
9. Siri Can Handle Your Calls
In addition to her (or now his, if you prefer) new voice, Siri can manage your call log for you. Need to listen to a voicemail? Just ask. Want to call back whoever just rang and you missed? Siri can handle that, too. Just make the request and she (or he) will take care of the rest.
8. You Can Change Your AirDrop Visibility
AirDrop makes it super easy to share files with other iOS 7 users in your vicinity, but perhaps you don't want everyone knowing you're ready and willing. If you want to place restrictions on who can send you files, you can just bring up Control Center and click on the AirDrop section towards the bottom left. You can decide if everyone, no one, or only contacts can see you. That way you'll only get file requests from the people you want—even if that's nobody.
7. Night Mode for Maps Avoids Blinding You While Driving Expand
Sometimes you don't want a bright white screen in your face, like when you're driving somewhere at night. Apple's Maps app automatically adjusts based on the time and provides you with a darker interface so you don't blind yourself while driving. You get this feature whether you like it or not, so there's no need to figure out how to turn it on.
6. The Compass App Includes a Spirit Level
Got a few crooked picture frames? The built-in Compass app now has a secret second page with a spirit level. Just line it up against the wall until you get a balanced zero degrees and then you'll know you're hanging things straight.
5. Messages Provides Time Stamps
Ever need to know when a specific message arrived? You can now find out by checking its timestamp in the Messages app. Just swipe on over from the right side of any conversation and you'll see when each message came in.
4. iPhones Automatically Join Trusted Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
iOS 7 makes joining free, trusted Wi-Fi hotspots much easier because you don't have to do anything at all. If you come in contact with AT&T Wi-Fi, for example, your iPhone will connect automatically and save you the hassle.
3. Mail Can Mark All Messages as Read
Remember how you used to have to exploit an iOS bug to mark all your emails as read? Now you don't! You can just tap the "Mark All" text at the bottom of your mail list and tell iOS 7 what you want.
2. You Can Make Audio-Only FaceTime Calls
You don't have to make a call with just your face. If you want to reach another iOS or OS X user without burning up your cellular minutes, or you just look like crap and don't want anyone to see you, then you can ring them via FaceTime. Just initiate the call the same way you would with video but click the phone icon instead.
1. You Can Block Calls and Messages
For quite some time you couldn't block calls through iOS, allowing annoying people to bother you unless you could get your carrier to handle the task. Harassment sucks in any form, and we're very happy to see Apple taking measures to stop it. If you want to block someone from sending you a call or message, you just need to hop into Settings -> Phone and/or Settings -> Messages and find the Blocked section toward the bottom. Tap it and add any people you don't want. You can always remove them if you change your mind.
Note from the author: I do not yet have an iPhone that can support iOS7. I have an ancient 3GS that will be rendered unusable if I download the new operating system, so I have to wait until I buy a new iPhone...which may be today! If you know of one for sale for a good price, please let me know. I'll buy it from you.
Pope Francis Says Church is Obsessed with Gays, Abortion, and Birth Control and Wants to Make it a "Home for All"
Pope Francis, the coolest Pope ever in my opinion, blasted the Catholic Church by saying it is "obsessed with gays, abortion, and birth control." More sensible words were never spoken. He went on to say he refused to discuss these issues, and wants to focus on making the church a '"home for all' and not a 'small chapel' focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings." Read the full New York Times article here.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
This young man was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was determined to get his thoughts and feelings into songs his family and friends could remember him by. You have to watch this video, it's so inspiring. Just a warning, it gets pretty emotional. So if you're not in a place that's conducive to spontaneous sobs, save this video for later. If you're not comfortable with the subject matter, try to get past that for a positive message.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.